Published: March 20th 2007March 20th 2007
I know it’s been a while since my last update, but I have all kinds of fun things to share.
The last week in February brought Katie Keyser and Matt Schleigh here from I Stati Uniti. It was fantastic to see familiar faces, and I of course had a lovely time sharing with them the best places for gelato, and a plethora of other incredible food. They got to meet Marina, and with Katie’s shy Italian, and Matt’s basic knowledge of just about everything, we had lovely conversation about all kinds of things…never excluding the necessary topic of good chocolate.
After their visit I was thrust into a world that I don’t quite remember, but I know I took a lot of exams and wrote papers, and somehow made it through all of them successfully. I’m really happy with the classes I’m taking, and even more pleased with the professors that are teaching them. I’m taking one graduate level art history, so it gets a little tricky, especially when I’d much rather be riding my bike up to Fiesole and eating ::more:: gelato instead of preparing lectures on paintings (I’m not fond of public speaking
The array of drinks
I have no idea why these are the only 2 photos I took of Katie and Matt's visit. see Katie for more details
when it isn’t in front of people under the age of 10) but I am enjoying the work and the corny art history humor that we amuse ourselves with.
So, onto the most fantastical event of the past weeks: The Parents Visit.
My spring break brought into Italy my cute pale Irish parents. I was being assaulted by the pigeons in Piazza Santa Maria Novella when they finally arrived. After checking in at their hotel, I immediately introduced them to my favorite Tuscan dish: Ribollita, and we had a pleasant and relaxing lunch, since they were jet lagged and I was exam lagged.
The first day we spent exploring the city. We climbed the 4XX steps to the Dome of the Duomo (ask my mother, she remembers the real number). While I thought all this walking had me in pretty good shape, even my legs shook for several minutes after coming back down. But the view was definitely worth it and my mom briefly suspended her immense fear of heights to enjoy it before running back to the safety of the ground.
That first night we had the most amazing dinner of their whole visit at
“Grillo Parlante”, a place that a caterer friend of my mom’s recommended. Their logo on their homemade wine is an italian version of Jiminy Cricket, so it was obviously a worthy place. I had octopus salad for the first time and it was excellent. I’m not sure if I’ll brave it at just any old place, though.
We spent the first 3 days in Florence and saw all the major sites…the Uffizi, the Boboli Gardens, the Academia, San Marco, San Lorenzo, etc. etc. My Dad and I also have a habit (much to the dismay of my mother's feet), of purposely getting lost. The roads in Italy are so enticing, it’s hard not to just…want to know what’s there. This habit became worse in Venice…
On our last night in Florence they met Marina. She got all dressed up for their visit and went out and got us gelato to have as an appetizer before going out to dinner. Translating was fun, but tricky. especially when my dad would make fun of me and Marina would ask me to translate. We went to Marina's favorite pizza place where she told me that its a Margarita Pizza because the
The Parents Visit
on top of the duomo
first queen's name was Margarita and pizza is the color of italy...red sauce, white cheese, green basil.
Sunday morning we took a very interesting train ride from Florence to Bologna, where were got on another train to Venice…something a lot like the Long Island Express Way, if you’ve ever experienced that joy. But luckily we claimed our seats next to an adorable four year old Italian girl, her big brother, and their very nice mother/nanny/aunt/person. She talked to me in Italian and even (Yay!) corrected me once in a while. If Marina gets the general jist of what I was trying to say, she just goes with it, so my grammar is remaining, well…awful.
Venice is absolutely beautiful. Sadly I woke up that morning with something terribly wrong which left me in pain every time I ate (which as you can see by all my pervious entries, is my absolute favorite thing to do in Italy). But besides me being sick, I found Venice to be quiet, lovely, and fantastically nonsensical. My dad and I didn’t even need to try to get lost. It’s a labyrinth. It just happens. We stumbled upon some fantastic art, including a special
The Parents Visit
on top of the duomo
stop to see my favorite Titian, The Assumption of the Virgin. My mom’s sponge of information on anything historical, and my growing (yet still small) knowledge of Renaissance art, made the trip very educational.
I also love glass jewelry. Venice is tourists. Tourists mean shopping. And we did.
We skipped out on the gondola ride, since my dad was sure that they weren’t going to sing to us.
Tuesday morning we took the looooong train ride to Rome. Our next hotel was a hilarious place run by a huge Chinese Family. I was never sure what language to try to speak, but their Italian was slightly better than their English… though when I asked for an extra pillow in both, he still brought me toilet paper.
Wednesday we went to the Papal Audience. When we went to pick up the tickets from the Bishop’s office my dad ran out to my mom and I who were waiting outside to tell us that there are tickets, and there are tickets
, and we had tickets
. When we got there with our special orange passes, we continued through the crowd, through the square, up the steps, and plopped ourselves
The Parents Visit
We missed. but its a cute picture of mumsie.
down 10 rows behind the Pope. He came in on a vespa…or maybe a skateboard…it may have been a chariot…probably closer to a chariot pope mobile. Anyway, I couldn’t see, but he was soaring in like superman, whatever he was on. He talked to the crowd in several different languages. They announced special groups in the audience which brought about several types of reactions from cheers to chants to full out choirs. We met some nice LA types who were sitting in front of us. We had no idea who they were until they offered to e-mail us their pictures from their fancy $2,000 plus digital SLR. It was Kathy Ireland and her entourage…the model/K-Mart Clothes designer. She had a cute daughter who went to see the pope in a tinker bell dress and ruby slippers.
The next day I got actually sick. Sick enough that I can now say that I threw up in Raphael’s Stanza della Segnatura. Luckily they have an emergency bathroom so I didn’t deface anything too precious. This act led to the next “opps” of the day. “I’ll meet you outside”. Well, that was dumb. Outside? Outside with the other 25,000 people? An hour
The Parents Visit
My mom's true feelings
and a half later, after standing in front of the faÃ§ade of St. Peters, swinging my scarf over my head, and stupidly asking a guard if anyone had tried to find me, I finally took a cab back to the Chinese B&B, where my parents returned 10 minutes later. There are 2 exits from the Sistine Chapel…just in case anyone needs to know.
But, as those things tend to work out, my sickly experience at the Vatican made it so that the next day I was feeling tons better, and we all set out for a day on the Appian Way. The Catacombs were my favorite part about Rome. We were led through by a funny little old Italian man, who was very much in a rush, but gave a pleasant little talk in beautiful broken English prose. When we returned to the surface he told us that he composed a poem about this place and if we send him a postcard, he’ll mail it to us. I very much plan on taking him up on this offer. Earlier in the week we had a hilarious tour of the Colosseum by a Roman woman who loved to do
special “Gladiator Voices” when talking about the events of the fight. She was my favorite. I’ve decided I like Italian tour guides.
Sadly, all trips must come to an end, but it was a lovely trip full of good food, popes, glass rings, and fantastic spring weather (not one day of rain or even the slightest bit cloudy). I missed the mum and papa bear quite a bit, and I was dying to show them this place. There is too much to see. Apparently their flight back to the states was cancelled since you guys have all that snow stuff, but I don’t feel too bad for them since they got bumped up and ended up on British Air Business Class. Lucky.
They brought me a functioning laptop, and I swear I will post pictures (though my parents have most of the ones from this adventure). It takes a long time for them to load, but I suppose I’ll be patient… we have a lot of visual catching up to do. :)
Pictures here. None of Venice and Mostly none of Rome...Mom and Dad have all of them. So, harass them to post. ;)
There are more photos below